UK 'will work with Egypt's rulers'
The UK will work with Egypt's new rulers despite condemning the military intervention that ousted democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi, William Hague said.
Mr Morsi is under arrest after being thrown out of office in a coup following days of demonstrations on the streets of Egyptian capital Cairo.
The armed forces announced they would install a temporary civilian government to replace Mr Morsi, who condemned the action as a "full coup" by the generals. The military also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for a new election. The senior judge in Egypt's supreme constitutional court, Adly Mansour, has been sworn in as interim leader.
Mr Hague told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the UK recognised states rather than governments "and we have to work with whoever is in authority in Egypt". He said that for "the safety of British nationals, we have to do that because there are so many British companies there".
The Foreign Secretary said: "I always condemn military intervention in a democratic system. This is a military intervention in a democratic system. We have to understand it's a popular intervention, there's no doubt about that in the current state of opinion in Egypt. So while warning about the precedent that it sets for the future, of course we have to work with the Egyptians, with the majority will in Egypt, and that's what we will do."
Mr Hague said that "in practice this will now move on very quickly" and "we have to recognise the enormous dissatisfaction in Egypt with what the president had done, with the conduct of government over the last year". He added: "We will always be clear that we don't support military intervention but we will work with people in authority in Egypt. That is the practical reality of foreign policy."
Mr Hague insisted that stability in the long run would come from democracy but the West needed to have the "strategic patience" to wait for the turbulence of the Arab Spring to die down.
Anti-Morsi protesters set off flares and fireworks in Tahrir Square, the epicentre for the uprising against the previous leader Hosni Mubarak, at the news of Mr Morsi's removal from office. Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party, said the former leader was under house arrest at a Presidential Guard building where he had been living. Twelve presidential aides were also under house arrest. The army took control of state media and blacked out TV stations operated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The head of the Brotherhood's political wing was arrested.
Mr Hague said he had sent a rapid deployment team of diplomats to reinforce the embassy in Cairo who would be able to give additional support to British nationals in case of need. "We are watching that very closely. I discussed it with our ambassador in Cairo during the night and we will send whatever further support is necessary and keep people updated about that," he said. He reiterated the Foreign Office travel advice warning against all but essential travel to the main Egyptian cities, although he said the Red Sea resorts remained safe.
Asked whether the UK condemned what had happened in Egypt, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "Yes." He told a regular Westminster media briefing: "We don't support military interventions as a way to resolve disputes. We always condemn military intervention in democratic systems. What we want and what we support is a democratic future for Egypt. The right thing to do now is to support the swift return to democratic processes and institutions that the Foreign Secretary has been talking about. That is what our energies are focused on." Asked whether the UK will recognise and work with the interim administration in Cairo, the spokesman said: "We recognise states not governments. We will be working with the Egyptian authorities. A strong, stable and democratic Egypt is very important to our interests. Democratic institutions that have the consent of the people are the best way of securing long-term strength and stability."